Digicel Fiji Yet To Obtain TV License To Broadcast

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Mobile company announced purchase of Sky Pacific

By Ropate Valemei

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Oct. 1, 2015) – Government has yet to issue a licence to Digicel Fiji to provide a subscription-based pay television service.

Digicel announced on September 17 it had acquired Sky Pacific, a division of Fiji Television Ltd, for $5.75m [US$2.63 milion].

The foreign-based company must obtain a licence in line with the Media Industry Development Decree.

This was confirmed by the Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum last night in a statement.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum confirmed Digicel Fiji had applied for a licence to the Ministry of Communications, which had yet to make a decision.

"Until such time, no statements should be made regarding the operational control of or any content to be shown by Sky Pacific service," Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

"It is premature for Digicel to announce any programming or content materials before the issuance of a licence," he said.

Any such statement, he said, could prejudice and pre-empt Government's authority in the matter thus highly inappropriate.

Consumer Council of Fiji CEO Premila Kumar said they had received concerns from Sky Pacific customers on the changes to the pay-TV's package of channels which they had subscribed to.

She said all subscribing pay-TV service customers had a right to information on the service they had paid for.

Mrs Kumar said there was no information on whether consumers would continue to get all the 25 channels that they paid for and for which they signed up contracts with Sky Pacific.

Fiji Television Ltd yesterday announced that Sky Pacific subscribers will no longer view Fiji One Channel.

National Federation Party leader Professor Biman Prasad said Sky Pacific customers would be forced to purchase and install ordinary antennae to watch Fiji One.

Prof Prasad said this was unacceptable whereas there was no public announcement or notification by either Fiji TV or Digicel.

However, Digicel Fiji's Darren McLean said Digicel could confirm that the Sky Pacific negotiations had successfully closed but they were awaiting the final approvals from the relevant authorities before taking operational control.

He assured customers that Sky Pacific operations would continue as normal through Fiji Television hence there would be no programming changes until further notice.

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